Ethnohistory

Ethnohistory 47.1, Winter 2000

Pamela J. Stewart, Guest Editor
Andrew Strathern, Guest Editor

Contents

Articles

    Timmer, Jaap.
  • The Return of the Kingdom: Agama and the Millennium among the Imyan of Irian Jaya, Indonesia.
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Indigenous peoples -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya -- Religion.
    • Christianity -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya.
    • Millennialism -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya.
    Abstract:
      Imyan people of the southwestern Bird's Head Peninsula of Irian Jaya await an event that promises wealth, justice, and a new world order: Jesus Christ's kingdom on earth. Millennial beliefs among the Imyan derive from a potent blend of Christian doctrine, ancestral transgressions, relationships with sky deities, and a long history of contact with the kingdom of Sailolof, a tributary principality of the North Moluccan sultanate of Tidore. By analyzing the present-day Imyan fear of a growing divide between heaven and earth, this article shows how male Imyans reconcile their current marginality within the Indonesian state to a future that is rooted in local myth and Christian doctrine.
    Oosterhout, Dianne van.
  • Tying the Time String Together: An End-of-Time Experience in Irian Jaya, Indonesia.
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Indigenous peoples -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya -- Religion.
    • Christianity -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya.
    • Millennialism -- Indonesia -- Irian Jaya.
    Abstract:
      The approaching millennium is a primary concern of the Inanwatan population. It is believed to herald a period of involution rather than an abrupt ending. The year 2000 is seen as bringing a new world order by restoring a mythical past and returning life-generating powers to the Inanwatan, rejuvenating them as well as society and the cosmos. This order is to be initiated by the Second Coming of Jesus. Narratives about the end of the world and meetings with Jesus may be interpreted as an attempt to gain control over this process of renewal. These narratives are closely related to origin myths of humans and society, when death and the flow of time were created. This article shows how the end of time is envisioned to reunite people with their original source of life force.
    Brutti, Lorenzo.
  • Afek's Last Son: Integrating Change in a Papua New Guinean Cosmology .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Oksapmin (Papua New Guinea people) -- Religion.
    • Cosmology, Pacific Island -- Papua New Guinea.
    Abstract:
      This article explains millenarism as a cultural response to a range of social, economic, and ecological changes that occurred during the past few centuries in Oksapmin society. The assumption is that Oksapmin cosmology has always been dynamic and self-innovating toward both endogenous and exogenous factors of change, tending to integrate emergent elements by modifying its inner structure and outer practice. The following analysis focuses on four main examples of radical transformations due to exogenous causes. All the changes discussed herein were originated, directly or indirectly, from contact with the European world (here defined as white-skinned individuals who came from the "Western" world in a broader sense) under the form of physical persons or material and ideological items. This does not mean that Oksapmin society has found vectors of change only in its confrontation with the Western world. The choice to analyze the interaction between this indigenous culture and different manifestations of European culture has been made according to the anthropologist's ethnographic focus.
    Bieniek, Jan.
    Trompf, G. W.
  • The Millennium, Not the Cargo? .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Millennialism -- Papua New Guinea -- Comparative studies.
    • Christianity -- Papua New Guinea.
    • Indigenous peoples -- Papua New Guinea -- Religion.
    Abstract:
      This article compares ideas about the coming millennium in two culturally different parts of Papua New Guinea: Sek in Madang Province and Kasap in Enga Province. In both areas the Catholic church is historically predominant. Concerns and questions about whether the millennium will be marked by Christ’s Second Coming are expressed with equal fervency in both areas, and there has been a transformation from more materialistic interests in cargo to more spiritual hopes of a “good time” that may follow the millennium. In both areas religious news continues to predominate as ways of looking at the world.
    Bashkow, Ira.
  • Confusion, Native Skepticism, and Recurring Questions about the Year 2000: "Soft" Beliefs and Preparations for the Millennium in the Arapesh Region, Papua New Guinea .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Millennialism -- Papua New Guinea -- East Sepik Province.
    • Arapesh (Papua New Guinea people) -- Religion.
    • Christianity -- Papua New Guinea -- East Sepik Province..
    Abstract:
      This paper is a report on millennial rumors that were circulating in 1998 in the Arapesh-speaking region of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Given New Guinea’s anthropological reputation as the land of millennial movements, we might expect the turning of the millennium to generate extravagant expectations and drama. But most year 2000 stories circulating in the region are actually variants of stories being diffused worldwide through evangelical networks and regular mass media. Papua New Guineans are intensely interested in millennial predictions because they perceive the millennium as a potentially momentous phenomenon of the wider world of Christianity and development of which they believe strongly that they are and must be a part. But the colorful stories people tell and retell about the year 2000 should not be taken as transparent statements of their “beliefs.” The paper suggests (1) that questioning and confusion is the dominant tone of current millennial thinking in the area; (2) that confusion stems from the fact that millennial beliefs are authorized primarily through foreign sources and media that do not satisfy indigenous notions of evidence and truth, and are not substantiated for individuals in their locally lived experience; and (3) that people are beginning to resolve this conflict by taking the meaning of the “year 2000” into their own hands in specifically local millennial projects that are aligned with their basic cultural values, especially unity and development.
    Jebens, Holger.
  • Signs of the Second Coming: On Eschatological Expectation and Disappointment in Highland and Seaboard Papua New Guinea.
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Millennialism -- Papua New Guinea -- Comparative studies.
    • Christianity -- Papua New Guinea.
    • Indigenous peoples -- Papua New Guinea -- Religion.
    Abstract:
      In Papua New Guinea it is widely believed that soon the biblically prescribed Second Coming of Jesus will end the world in its present state. This paper intends to examine the occurrence, change, and spread of apocalyptic narratives. I will summarize which eschatological signs have been pointed out to me in Pairundu (Southern Highlands Province) and how they were looked upon five years later. Surprisingly, subsequent fieldwork in Koimumu (West New Britain Province) showed that apocalyptic narratives seemed to be absent. Analyzing the ethnographic data, I will start with the question of why the inhabitants of Pairundu would find the idea of the Second Coming to be believable. Elucidation of the cultural meaning of this idea, however, will finally necessitate an attempt to account for its virtual nonexistence in Koimumu.
    Ballard, Chris.
  • The Fire Next Time: The Conversion of the Huli Apocalypse .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Huli (Papua New Guinea people) -- Religion.
    • Millennialism -- Papua New Guinea -- Southern Highlands Province.
    • Cosmology, Pacific Island -- Papua New Guinea -- Southern Highlands Province.
    Abstract:
      Christian notions of the Apocalypse, which were first introduced to Huli speakers of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea during the 1950s, encountered an existing indigenous eschatology, or doctrine of last things. Precontact Huli cosmology posited a moral constitution for the fertility of the universe in which the health of people and the land reflected the state of moral order in Huli society. Failure in social behaviour, which could be gauged from the declining condition of the “skin” of the land, was attributed to an inexorable process of loss of the knowledge of customary lore. Human agency, however, was accorded a significant role in redressing this universal tendency to entropy, and ritual leaders claimed the ability to induce an apocalyptic, earth-renewing fall of fertile soil from the sky. The adoption of Christian understandings of the Apocalypse as the revelation of divine will, and the abandonment of most of the precontact rituals, have thus had significant consequences for Huli conceptions of the role of human agency in history, and for the nature of their engagement with the land.
    Scaglion, Richard.
  • Afterword: Zero Hour: Reflecting Backward, Looking Forward .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Millennialism -- Melanesia.
    • Abelam (Papua New Guinea people) -- Religion.
    • Time -- Mythology -- Melanesia.

Review Essays

    Peregrine, Peter N. (Peter Neal), 1963-
  • A Tale of Two Archaeologies.
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Dancey, William S., ed. Ohio Hopewell community organization.
    • Pacheco, Paul J. (Paul Joe), ed.
    • Lewis, R. Barry, ed. Mississippian towns and sacred spaces.
    • Stout, Charles B., ed.
    • O'Brien, Michael J. (Michael John), 1950- Prehistory of Missouri.
    • Wood, W. Raymond.
    • O'Brien, Michael J. (Michael John), 1950-, ed. Changing perspectives on the archaeology of the Central Mississippi River Valley.
    • Dunnell, Robert C., 1942-, ed.
    • Wood, W. Raymond, ed. Archaeology on the Great Plains.
    • Hopewell culture -- Ohio.
    • Mississippian culture.

Book Reviews

    Oberg, Michael Leroy.
  • Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790 (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • O'Brien, Jean M. Dispossession by degrees: Indian land and identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790.
    • Indians of North America -- Land tenure -- Massachusetts -- Natick.
    Lovell, W. George (William George), 1951-
  • Numbers from Nowhere: The American Indian Contact Population Debate (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Henige, David P. Numbers from nowhere: the American Indian contact population debate.
    • Indians -- Population.
    Diacon, Todd A.
  • The Machete and the Cross: Campesino Rebellion in Yucatán (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Dumond, Don E., 1929- Machete and the cross: campesino rebellion in Yucatán.
    • Yucatán (Mexico : State) -- History -- Caste War, 1847-1855.
    Hale, Charles R., 1957-
  • To Die in This Way: Nicaraguan Indians and the Myth of Mestizaje, 1880-1965 (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Gould, Jeffrey L. To die in this way: Nicaraguan Indians and the myth of mestizaje, 1880-1965.
    • Indians of Central America -- Nicaragua -- Cultural assimilation.
    Strathern, Andrew.
    Stewart, Pamela J.
  • Small Sacrifices: Religious Change and Cultural Identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Schiller, Anne (Anne Louise) Small sacrifices: religious change and cultural identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia.
    • Ngaju (Indonesian people) -- Religion.
    Scaglion, Richard.
  • Continent of Hunter-Gatherers: New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Lourandos, Harry, 1945- Continent of hunter-gatherers: new perspectives in Australian prehistory.
    • Prehistoric peoples -- Australia.
    Benvenga, Nancy.
  • Sami Culture in a New Era: The Norwegian Sami Experience, and: In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun: Contemporary Sami Prose and Poetry, and: The Sun, My Father (review) .
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Gaski, Harald, 1955-, ed. Sami culture in a new era: the Norwegian Sami experience.
    • Gaski, Harald, 1955-, ed. In the shadow of the midnight sun: contemporary Sami prose and poetry.
    • Valkeapää, Nils-Aslak. Sun, my father.
    • Sami (European people) -- Norway -- Social conditions.
    • Sami literature -- Translations into English.



[Project MUSE] [Search Page] [Journals] [Journal Directory] [Top]